As is my tradition, this is my end-of- year blog, an annual optimistic look forward. Usually, I concentrate on trends in assessment. Out of a large number of possibilities, I have narrowed it down to:
- We are a Growth Industry
- The Candidate Experience
The year 2017 was the year of Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology. Newspaper articles declared I-O Psychology a “hot” job for 2018, a fastest growing job, and a high paying job. Although there are other subfields subsumed under the I-O Psychology label, most of this enthusiasm has been fueled by the growth in the demand for assessment professionals. Diving down further, we can trace our “hotness” to the explosive expansion of unproctored internet-based testing, the gamification of assessments, and a general interest in the application of emerging technologies to preemployment testing. Of course, fame can be fleeting, and predictions often wrong, but as for now at least the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.
Of course, there are growing pains. A perusal of job advertisements reveals a large number of openings in assessment, testing, talent acquisition, and other specialized areas of human resources. Many of these are complex jobs requiring specialized knowledge of staffing, recruitment, and selection. Then, you get to the minimum requirements and you read “College degree with 3 years of experience.” Now, it is quite possible that a highly qualified person with a college degree could have acquired the experience necessary to perform the job, but more often than not that is not the case and the minimum requirements, and associated salary, are not consistent with the job description.
In my opinion, despite our “hotness,” the minimum requirements for entering the field, as well as the salaries, have not kept up with demands and responsibilities involved in advanced assessment work. In part, this can be seen as a result of demand, in that the production of new Master’s and Ph.D. level, trained individuals has not kept up with the increase in available positions. Companies and the public sector, especially smaller jurisdictions, need to fill jobs despite limited availability of qualified candidates and thin budgets. It probably also reflects the linkage between assessment and Human Resources (HR), and HR has long been an undervalued area in the business world, which leads us to the need for greater professionalization.
I have long argued that the assessment field faces an identity crisis in that we have not clearly demarcated ourselves as an evidence- and science-based profession. This has become even more true in recent years as assessment science becomes more intertwined with new developments in technology and the statistical sciences.
What bothers me as an academic is that fewer and fewer ungraduated psychology programs are teaching a course in Tests and Measures; forget about requiring such a course, the option is not even offered. Recently, I have also heard that more psychology graduate students complete their degree without taking a psychometrics or dedicated testing course. This is a problem that is getting worse rather than better.
Measurement is basic to all sciences and we need to do a better job of measurement and testing of human capabilities in education and employment. I believe we must continue to push for higher standards for the assessment profession, Thus, I offer the following resolutions for the New Year (and invite you to join me):
- I will continue to advocate for greater professionalization for the assessment field.
- On a personal level, I will attend at least one conference concerned with assessment topics.
- On a personal level, I will seek out additional continuing education in assessment and testing.
If you would like to increase your knowledge and expertise in assessment, IPMA-HR and the Assessment Services staff is committed to helping and assisting you. Please consider attending an IPMA-HR conference and utilize the expertise offered by the fine, Assessment Services staff. A number of free guides and resources are available at the Assessment Services website.
The Candidate Experience
We should never forget that employment testing has implications for people. Testing impacts lives, incomes, and the hopes and dreams of individuals. This is a significant responsibility.
A positive trend in assessment has been the growth of the candidate experience movement. At least on the surface, testing firms and employers are concerned with the reaction of candidates, especially those not receiving employment offers, to the recruitment and selection process.
However, since my early retirement, I have found myself applying for a large number of jobs. I must say that I have not been very satisfied. Perhaps the biggest disappointment, in far too many cases the employer, whether public sector, private, or University, provided no feedback at all. I am not even talking about specific feedback on my performance on preemployment tests, but any type of follow up communication from the employer.
Thus, I offer the following resolution for the New Year (and invite you to join me):
- I will continue to work to improve the candidate experience by offering good tests that are reliable, valid, fair, and provide a positive experience from the perspective of the test taker.
Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, and a Happy New Year on behalf of myself, my patient editor, Toni Kovalski, and all the IPMA-HR Assessment staff. Thank you for reading the blog. As always, we would love to hear from you or just start up a conversation.
As always, if you have a question you would like to see addressed in a future blog, please let us know. If you have any questions or thoughts for me, please, email Dennis Doverspike at email@example.com or include a comment on the blog.